- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds Nixtamal, recipe follows
- 4 to 5 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound dried corn kernels, approximately 2 cups
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 -ounce slaked lime* (commonly called cal), approximately 2 tablespoons
- *Cook's Note: Both dried corn and slaked lime (cal) are available online and in most Latin markets.
Place the Nixtamal into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10 to 15 times. Add 2 tablespoons of the water and pulse 8 to 10 times, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add 2 more tablespoons of water along with the salt and pulse until a dough begins to form. If the dough is still dry and somewhat crumbly, add the remaining tablespoon of water and pulse several times. Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a ball. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 minutes. *You may also make tortillas from pre-ground masa flour following the directions on the bag.
Preheat a cast iron griddle over medium-high heat until it reaches 400 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions, shape into balls, and keep covered with a damp tea towel.
Cut a 1-gallon zip-top bag in half and line the base of a tortilla press with the plastic. Place 1 ball at a time onto the press and top with the other half of the plastic. Close the press and push down firmly several times until the tortilla is flattened. Remove the plastic wrap from the tortilla and place onto the cast iron skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove the tortilla to a plate lined with a tea towel. Cover the tortilla with a second towel to keep warm. Repeat with all of the dough. Use immediately or store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.Nixtamal:
Rinse the corn under cool water; drain and set aside.
Place the water and the lime into a 3 1/2 to 4-quart, non-reactive stockpot, set over medium-low heat, and stir to combine. Add the corn and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Make sure that it takes at least 30 to 45 minutes to come to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature overnight. Do not refrigerate.
Drain the corn in a large colander and rinse under lukewarm water for 5 to 6 minutes while rubbing the corn kernels between your fingers in order to remove the outer coating. Place the corn into a large bowl, cover with lukewarm water, and allow to soak for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse, and repeat. Use immediately to make masa dough for tortillas.
Yield: approximately 1 1/2 to 2 pounds nixtamal
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2006